Migraine is a debilitating disorder that affects approximately 14 percent of adults. It is an extremely difficult disorder to study because no biomarkers between or during attacks have been identified so far.An Egyptian medical scroll dated 1500 to 3000BC is the first known mention of a migraine, and throughout the centuries they have been one of the least understood but most common diseases.
“This study has greatly advanced our biological insight about the cause of migraine,” says Dr Aarno Palotie, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “Migraine and epilepsy are particularly difficult neural conditions to study; between episodes the patient is basically healthy so it’s extremely difficult to uncover biochemical clues.”
The team uncovered the underlying susceptibilities by comparing the results from 29 different genomic studies, including over 100,000 samples from both migraine patients and control samples. They found that some of the regions of susceptibility lay close to a network of genes that are sensitive to oxidative stress.